The Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB), initiated in 1999 by the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), will soon be operational. In a statement issued last Wednesday, Nigerian Transport Minister Muazu Sambo expressed optimism that within 90 days, his ministry will get housing to allow the take-off of this project dear to coastal countries in the region.
The process is well advanced for the establishment of the RMDB. The bank’s Charter is drawn up. According to the texts governing its operation, the project must meet the approval of at least 8 Member States. “Eight countries have signed the Charter as required by the document establishing the bank. Two weeks ago, the DRC also signed, making it nine countries. One above the threshold is required for the establishment of the law,” said Muazu Sambo, when he received at the Ministry the Secretary General of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu. “When I came back here, I immediately realized that the Regional Maritime Bank is one of the lowest achievement we can make in a very short time. Actually, 90 days is too long. I have observed that all the efforts to obtain housing through the Central Bank of Nigeria have yielded no results. So I will approach the Attorney General of the Federation to see if any of the confiscated property can be attributed to the bank,” said Muazu Sambo. According to the Secretary General of the MOWCA, the idea of RMDB was conceived 11 years ago with the aim of facilitating loans at single-digit interest rates to give the main players in the sector room to manoeuvre and allow them to compete favourably with their international counterparts. “The organizational chart of RMDB as adopted by the members of the Board has the positions of President of the organization, Secretary General and a seat on the Board of Directors transferred to Nigeria. Cameroon must choose the first vice-president and Côte d ‘Ivoire the second vice-president, while other member countries must provide members to the Board of Directors of the maritime bank,” he said.
Moreover, the permanent secretary of the Ministry, Magdalene Ajani, has put on the table the bill to pass the law on the suppression of piracy and other maritime offences (SPOMO). This law would enable the prosecution of piracy cases in the MOWCA subregion, regardless of where the crime was committed. As a reminder, the MOWCA, created in 1975, aims at harmonizing the policies and strategies of the Member States in the field of maritime transport, ports, safety of maritime navigation and protection of the marine environment. The MOWCA has 25 member states, including 20 countries with coastlines from Mauritania to Angola, and 5 landlocked countries: Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad.